Brian Shaw has put in his time. He was a long-time and highly regarded assistant coach under Phil Jackson with the Los Angeles Lakers. When he was bypassed for Mike Brown when Jackson retired, Kobe Bryant was upset.Shaw was insulted and bolted to the Indiana Pacers, where he served this season as associate head coach on a team that surprised many.Now, he’s in the running for two head-coaching positions: in Charlotte and Orlando.Shaw, who won three titles as a player, is among the hottest assistants in the league and could land in with the Magic. Michael Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, reportedly is considering Shaw and current Lakers assistant and former Missouri coach Quinn Synder.Jerry Sloan, the Hall of Famer and former coach of the Utah Jazz, pulled his name from consideration for the Charlotte job.Snyder interviewed with Jordan and the Bobcats for a second time this week. And while Shaw has more NBA experience than Snyder, winning three titles as a player and another two as an assistant coach with the Lakers, he has never been a head coach. Snyder has only two years’ experience as an assistant coach in the NBA — starting in 2010-11 with the Philadelphia 76ers followed by last season with the Lakers — but prior to that spent seven seasons as the head coach of University of Missouri followed by three seasons as the head coach of the Austin Toros in the D-League.
Chris Webber has run out of timeouts with the State of California and now they’ve filed a six-figure tax lien against the five-time NBA all-star … TMZ has learned.According to documents filed by the California Employment Development Office, CWebb owes the state for unpaid taxes from the last few months of 2008 and all of 2009. The initial amount was for $81,427.36, but with $25,874.56 in penalties and $11,629.05 in interest … the former Sacrament King now owes $118,930.97.
Every Super Bowl loser wants a do-over, but no team has had as disastrous an ending as Atlanta had in the final nine minutes of Super Bowl LI. If the Falcons were given 1,000 do-overs, they would have been expected, according to ESPN’s win probability model, to win the game 996 times.All the Falcons needed was one more point, one defensive stop or perhaps even just one more minute of burnt clock to zero out the New England Patriots’ 0.4 percent chance to surmount a nigh-insurmountable lead.Why didn’t they?“I think we ran out of gas,” Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said at his post-game press conference. Even so, Quinn’s offensive machine should have been able to coast to the finish line after being up 28-12 with possession of the ball and less than 10 minutes to play. Instead, bad decision-making turned domination into capitulation.The Falcons, as I wrote one FiveThirtyEight’s Super Bowl live blog, had been stunningly effective on the ground all game. The Patriots’ rush defense ranked fourth in Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) this season, yet the Falcons had piled up 94 yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries.Starting at the 9:40 mark, Falcons running back Tevin Coleman ran on first and second down, getting injured on the latter play but setting up 3rd-and-1 from the team’s own 36-yard line. Rather than dial up another clock-eating run, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan called a pass play. Coleman’s backfield partner, Devonta Freeman, whiffed on his blocking assignment, and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was strip-sacked.After the Patriots capitalized on the turnover with a touchdown, the Falcons ran 11 offensive plays — and only two of them were runs. Despite needing more than anything to wind the clock down to zero, Shanahan gave only two more carries to Freeman, who’d been averaging 8.2 yards per carry until that point.This is where football coaches, who spend numerous hours micro-analyzing schemes and matchups as they build out their game plans, can lose the forest for the trees. It may well be that Shanahan had a perfect play called up for that situation, or a matchup he knew Ryan could exploit. Ryan, after all, had completed 13 of 16 passes to that point; another short completion seemed like an easy ask. But the Falcons needed to maximize their chance of finishing the game with more points, not their offensive efficiency. Should Terrell Owens Be In The Hall of Fame? Related: Hot Takedown Even if the Patriots had stopped Freeman short of the sticks on 3rd-and-1, it would have run 30 more seconds off the clock, and an average Matt Bosher punt would have placed the Patriots inside their own 20-yard line with less than eight minutes to play. Instead, the Falcons’ only turnover of the game gave the Patriots the ball 5 yards from the red zone with 8:24 left on the clock. Even an unsuccessful run and decent punt at this juncture might have been enough to win the game, considering that the Patriots would go on to score the game-tying touchdown with just 57 seconds left. (Then again, having one fewer minute may have just meant that the Patriots would have scored even faster.)Incredibly, Shanahan and the Falcons later doubled down on their mistake.On the ensuing Falcons possession, Ryan gripped it and ripped it. The Falcons moved from their own 10-yard line to the Patriots’ 22 with a 2-yard run sandwiched between two deep passes. They then ran once, for a loss of a yard, shaving 44 seconds off the clock. Then, Shanahan dialed up another pass — and Ryan took his fifth sack.“You don’t think, just run the ball and make your guy kick a 50-yard field goal,” Shanahan told reporters after the game. But wait — why wouldn’t you think that?Running two more times, even for no gain, would have forced the Patriots to burn two timeouts. The Falcons were on the Patriots’ 23-yard line; a field-goal attempt from there would have been 40 yards, not 50. Falcons kicker Matt Bryant has made 78.2 percent of his career kicks from between 40 and 49 yards. With the score 28-20, going up by 11 with less than four minutes to play would likely have been as effective a dagger as going up by 15.In the end, Shanahan, Ryan and the Falcons offense can point to just about any metric and say they put together a masterful offensive game. They averaged a whopping 7.5 yards per play over the course of the game, far more than the Patriots’ 5.9, or even the Falcons’ league-leading regular-season average of 6.7.But sometimes the best performance in a vacuum isn’t the optimal performance in a game situation. That’s something Shanahan, reportedly set to become the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, is going to have to learn.
The Vegas Golden Knights are only halfway through their inaugural season, and they’ve already redefined what anyone thought was possible for an NHL expansion franchise. Against all odds, the Knights are currently 29-10-3 with 61 points, good for the best record in the Western Conference — and only 4 points shy of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the best record in the entire league. It’s enough to make the Knights hockey’s greatest debut team ever, hands down.But that’s not all: Vegas is also lapping the field of expansion teams across every major pro sport. Even after adjusting for the way records are distributed in other sports, no other brand-new club in modern history came close to doing what the Knights have done so far. Expansion teams just aren’t supposed to have this kind of success this early.Constructed as a Frankenstein’s monster of unwanted parts from the rest of the league, a new club is usually very bad indeed. In a franchise’s first season, merely being “competitive” — code for losing but keeping things close most nights — is an admirable goal. And going into this season, there were plenty of people who had trouble seeing the Knights even reaching that modest level of success. Most outlets picked Vegas to finish either last or next-to-last in the Pacific Division.That was a reasonable expectation based on the past performance of first-year clubs. Our own analysis found that Vegas had dredged more talent out of the expansion-draft pool than normal — but that was just supposed to mean the Knights would exceed historical expectations. It didn’t mean we thought they’d make the playoffs, much less that they’d contend for the Stanley Cup.So far this season, however, Vegas has picked up 73 percent of the maximum number of points in its games and outscored its opponents by 0.7 goals per game. To compare those marks across NHL seasons, we converted them to z-scores, or the number of standard deviations they sat above or below league average. (This helps us account for changes in the league’s spread of talent over time and allows us to make comparisons between different sports — which will come in handy later.) In both categories, Vegas’s z-scores are easily the top marks for an NHL expansion team since the league blew up the Original Six and added six new teams in 1967-68:1Excluding the four World Hockey Association teams (the Edmonton Oilers, New England Whalers, Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets) that merged into the NHL in 1979. Although those teams held an expansion draft, they were also able to keep some of their existing players, and they had existed in the WHA since its founding, making them different from brand-new franchises starting from scratch. 1962Houston Colt .45’s-0.8-1.040.0-1.0 Vegas vs. NFL expansion teamsScore DifferentialWin percentage YearTeamValueZ-ScoreValueZ-Score 51994Mighty Ducks of Anaheim-0.3-0.37 Vegas vs. NBA expansion teamsScore DifferentialWin percentage 12018Vegas Golden Knights+0.7+1.28 1966Miami Dolphins-10.6-1.221.4-1.4 81968Los Angeles Kings-0.3-0.62 61968Minnesota North Stars46.6-0.40 1968Cincinnati Bengals-8.1-0.821.4-1.1 Vegas is destroying its NHL expansion competitorsBest z-scores (standard deviations relative to average) for point percentage and goals per game differential, NHL expansion teams (1968-2018) Vegas beats other sports’ expansion teams, tooHow the Vegas Golden Knights stack up against top expansion teams in each league by z-score* of winning percentage, 1961-2018 The Florida Panthers used to be the model for a successful NHL expansion team. Florida was more than merely competitive in 1993-94 — it finished one win shy of a .500 record and scored exactly as many goals as it allowed. Then, with the good core of talent they had picked up in the expansion draft, the Panthers made the Stanley Cup final three seasons into the franchise’s existence. Before Vegas came along, that was the gold standard for brand-new clubs: solid in the first year, outright good within a couple seasons. But the Knights’ debut has flipped those expectations on their head.(Yes, it should be noted that the 1967-68 St. Louis Blues made the Cup final in their first season. But that was solely because the NHL dropped all six of its new teams into the same division, the winner of which had to make the final. Every team in the new West division, which housed all the expansion clubs, had a negative goal differential during the regular season, but someone had to win it — and the Blues were that team. They were also swept by the mighty Montreal Canadiens when they played for the Cup.)2In fairness to St. Louis, it was as close a sweep as you’ll see; each game was decided by a single goal.Vegas’s season becomes even more impressive when you compare its z-scores to those of the top expansion teams from other sports. No modern MLB expansion club finished a season any better than the 70-win 1961 Los Angeles Angels; no debut NBA team ever topped the 33 wins of the 1967 Chicago Bulls; no NFL expansion team could beat the 7-9 Carolina Panthers from 1995. Hockey does tend to see its teams’ records more tightly bunched than in such sports as football and basketball, but even after adjusting for that with our z-scores, the Golden Knights’ current season blows away any would-be challenger from the NFL, NBA or MLB since the early 1960s: 1967Chicago Bulls-3.7-0.740.7-0.5 YEARTEAMPOINT %–Z-SCORE 41968St. Louis Blues-0.2-0.36 21994Florida Panthers+0.00.00 31968Philadelphia Flyers-0.1-0.15 Goal differential 71973Atlanta Flames-0.6-0.58 61968Pittsburgh Penguins-0.3-0.54 2018Vegas Golden Knights+0.7+1.372.6%+1.7 41968Los Angeles Kings48.7-0.16 YEARTEAMGPG DIFF.–Z-SCORE 1967New Orleans Saints-10.4-1.221.4-1.3 2018Vegas Golden Knights+0.7+1.372.6%+1.7 12018Vegas Golden Knights72.6%+1.73 81973Atlanta Flames41.7-0.57 Vegas vs. MLB expansion teamsScore DifferentialWin percentage 71968Pittsburgh Penguins45.3-0.57 1995Carolina Panthers-2.3-0.443.8-0.4 1993Colorado Rockies-1.3-2.141.4-1.2 1969Kansas City Royals-0.6-0.842.6-0.8 YearTeamValueZ-ScoreValueZ-Score 51968St. Louis Blues47.3-0.32 2018Vegas Golden Knights+0.7+1.372.6%+1.7 1969Milwaukee Bucks-5.1-1.132.9-1.1 91971Buffalo Sabres40.4-0.65 1961Los Angeles Angels-0.3-0.343.5-0.7 101994Mighty Ducks of Anaheim42.3-0.76 1971Portland Trail Blazers-4.5-0.935.4-1.0 21994Florida Panthers49.4-0.06 Full-season statistics are used for all teams except Vegas.Source: Hockey-Reference.com 1990Minnesota Timberwolves-4.2-0.926.8-1.3 Point percentage YearTeamValueZ-ScoreValueZ-Score 1961Minnesota Vikings-8.7-0.921.4-1.3 101971Buffalo Sabres-1.0-0.85 91971Vancouver Canucks-0.9-0.77 31968Philadelphia Flyers49.3-0.08 1968Seattle SuperSonics-6.5-1.328.0-1.3 1969Seattle Pilots-1.0-1.339.5-1.1 *Z-score is the number of standard deviations above/below average, relative to the overall league that season.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, Pro-Football-Reference.com One thing that jumps out is that many NHL expansion teams had better z-scores than the best expansion teams in the other sports. But why is it so much easier to build a strong NHL expansion team (relative to the league) than in the other Big Four North American sports? I don’t have a great explanation.Hockey is the sport with the least reliable individual stats — while scouts’ eye tests can be swayed by recency and other biases — so it may be that the caliber of players left available in the expansion draft is higher than in other sports. Or perhaps the outsize value of goaltending means one good pick between the pipes is enough to carry a team of talent-strapped skaters to respectability. Or maybe good coaching deserves more credit than it sometimes gets around the league. Whatever the reason, expansion teams have done better on ice in general, even before Vegas started to blow the doors off the league.We know that, in the NHL, it takes a lot of games to tell who’s good and who’s bad — which is why even a hot half-season can turn cold overnight. For Vegas, the heat has been generated by MVP-candidate seasons from the likes of William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault and a near Vezina-worthy performance from Marc-Andre Fleury — all players who were considered expendable as recently as seven months ago. Peeking under the hood, the Knights’ ratio of shots taken to shots allowed at even-strength is nothing special, even after adjusting for score effects and other factors. And let’s face it: Few teams can sustain this pace for an entire season: Of the 24 teams with at least 60 points in their first 42 games since 2005-06,3Excluding the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. only one (last year’s Capitals) had a second-half point percentage as good as it did in the first half of the season.So it would be logical to assume that a second-half regression could be lurking around the corner for the Golden Knights. But the advanced stats don’t suggest that Vegas has been particularly lucky. In terms of expected goals (which measures where a team’s chances come from in addition to their volume), the Knights have the ninth-best ratio in the league.Regression or no regression, various projection systems consider the Knights all but a lock to make the playoffs, which would make Vegas the first expansion team to claim that honor since the 1968 season’s standings guaranteed that four new clubs would qualify. Even the in-town sportsbooks are paying attention to the possibility of playoff action in the desert: The Knights are currently tied for the second-best Stanley Cup odds of any team in the league.For an expansion team, all of this seemed unthinkable going into the season. New franchises aren’t supposed to be instant contenders. They’re supposed to struggle, to require years of building before achieving this kind of success. Vegas clearly doesn’t care about any of that. And now we have an entirely new yardstick with which to compare every other expansion club that comes along in the future, no matter the sport.
On this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, we evaluate the NBA and NHL conference finals. Despite the celebration of Kawhi Leonard’s historic buzzer-beater to put the Raptors into the Eastern Conference finals, Toronto head coach Nick Nurse thinks the Raptors need to get better before facing the Milwaukee Bucks. We look at how our projections compare with the Vegas betting markets in anticipation of this matchup and the Golden State-Portland series.In the NHL, the Stanley Cup playoffs have been full of upsets, with all four No. 1 seeds knocked out in the first round. In the West, San Jose and St. Louis are tied at 1-1, but in the East, the Carolina Hurricanes find themselves down 0-2 to the high-flying Boston Bruins. In a season full of surprises, can we really count Carolina out? Rob Reese of the NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast seems to think so.Finally, our Rabbit Hole of the Week is inspired by baseball’s Edwin Jackson, who is expected to suit up Wednesday for his MLB-record 14th team. We dig in to which other players, regardless of sport, have made the most rosters over their careers.What we’re looking at this week:Our NBA prediction model might surprise some Milwaukee fans.Will this be the year the St. Louis Blues stop disappointing their fans?Edwin Jackson sets a record. FiveThirtyEight More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code
87654321abcdefgh “It’s going to be a complicated game,” said the grandmaster Judit Polgár, providing the official match commentary.And indeed it was going to be — for the players and your humble chess correspondent. My parents were in town, my sister was sweating over an oven, and forgotten provisions had to be procured. A table had to be set. Mashed potatoes had to be eaten. I tore away from the match and headed into the city.Having nervously missed a handful of moves on my train ride, I ascended from the serviceless subway station in time to witness something special from Carlsen, the defending world champion who had yet to do much special at all. One grandmaster told me his move was “phenomenal.” Another tweeted that it was “incredible.” A chess writer called it “sensational.” A chess instructor called it “fascinating.”So just what was it that Carlsen did with the black pieces here? It was pawn to b5.Erwin l’Ami, the grandmaster who called it “incredible,” described the idea behind the move, which ostensibly loses a pawn for Carlsen, as follows: Once Carlsen pushes that pawn to b5, Caruana can win it by moving his pawn to b6. (That may not appear to be a legal move, but it’s a special capture known as en passant, in which a pawn can diagonally capture another pawn that has just hopped up two squares next to it.) Carlsen could then take the rook on a3 with his rook, and Caruana could take that rook with his knight. Carlsen could then push his pawn to f3, encroaching further into white’s territory. Two pawn captures then ensue on that same square, followed by Caruana capturing there with his bishop. And then Carlsen could bring his knight into the action on e5. The result of that hypothetical line would have looked like this — a “huge attack” on Caruana’s king.
An OSU helmet sits on the field before the 45th annual BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. OSU won 44-28. Photo Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo Editor GLENDALE, Ariz. – Before No. 7 Ohio State took the field to close out its 2015 season with a 44-28 victory over No. 8 Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, The Lantern’s sports editors Ryan Cooper and Kevin Stankiewicz laid out five things they would be looking out for. Here are how those five elements transpired.Fast startsNotre Dame got the ball first to start the game and were given the gift of OSU redshirt senior Jack Willoughby sending the kickoff out of bounds. It was exactly what Brian Kelly wanted for his team, but the Fighting Irish could not convert that into a quick start, as they would have hoped. Instead, Notre Dame went three-and-out. For OSU, it was night-and-day different. The Buckeyes took over possession at their own 20-yard line and surgically marched down the field. Redshirt senior H-back Braxton Miller had 36 all-purpose yards and Ezekiel Elliott punched it in from 2 yards out to cap off a nine-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in just 3:01. “Obviously their first series was outstanding,” Kelly said. “They ran the ball effectively right down the field. So I just think that they executed very well early on.” From the get-go, it was clear the Buckeyes suffered from no cobwebs. The Fighting Irish, again, went three-and-out, including a false start penalty, forcing another punt. Just three plays later, the Scarlet and Gray found the end zone for the second time, this time courtesy of a 15-yard catch-and-run by redshirt junior wide receiver Michael Thomas. Notre Dame was able to claw back into game throughout the rest of play, getting it down to just a one-score deficit, at 28-21, but its ice-cold start, compared to OSU’s flaming hot one, clearly hindered the Fighting Irish. “It was the difference in the game really, those 14 points early,” Kelly said. “We had to play catch-up from there.” Trick playsIn postseason play, teams will often look to trick plays of sorts to try and catch their opponent off guard. That was the case in the Fiesta Bowl, however, it was only just once. Down 14-0, with 9:22 left in the second quarter, redshirt freshman quarterback DeShone Kizer threw a backward pass to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr., who, instead of advancing forward, took a step back and looked to throw. Hunter had an open man in the end zone, tight end Alizé Jones, but the throw had slightly too much on it, as it fell incomplete just beyond Jones’ reach. Although the play was unsuccessful, it showed that Kelly was trying to find any way to kickstart his team after the sluggish start. OSU, for the most part, avoided any sort of trickery, but some unusual route combinations did appear at times throughout the game, notably on Thomas’ 13-yard catch on the first drive of the second half. End of the roadThe victory over Notre Dame gave the 18 members of OSU’s senior class 50 career wins, the most in program history. Although it couldn’t secure a second consecutive berth in the College Football Playoff, the Fiesta Bowl win was still a good final chapter for the group.“I am glad we got that win for them,” sophomore defensive end Jalyn Holmes said following the game. Many of the seniors that saw the field on Friday were instrumental in the outcome. Linebacker Joshua Perry’s seven tackles were tied for the team-high. On the offensive line, left tackle Taylor Decker was key, like usual, in excavating large holes for Elliott to run through and protecting Barrett. Right tackle Chase Farris, who at times has struggled during the year, turned in a solid performance, as well. As for Miller, one of the most decorated players in OSU history, his final showing in scarlet and gray was certainly not a bad one. The win marked the first postseason victory he was active for and, after disappearing at times during the season, Miller made his presence felt Friday. He finished with 26 rushing yards on two attempts, as well as two catches for 12 yards. Miller didn’t display any wicked spin moves like he did against Virginia Tech, but, all things considered, his OSU finale was a good one. Holmes said the senior class will be missed and that there is “so many” who have left their marks on the program, not only because of their performances on the field, but for the lessons they have taught off it.“All the seniors try to just help someone out in any way,” he said. “Chase Farris, (defensive tackle) Joel Hale, Joshua Perry, they all try and help on and off the field. That’s what made them so special.” Barrett’s big-stage debutAfter missing out on postseason play last year, Friday’s Fiesta Bowl was Barrett’s bowl debut. The redshirt sophomore has not been known to melt under the bright lights, but wondering how he might respond to such a large stage was a valid question. He answered them soundly, ultimately winning the game’s most valuable player award.Barrett started the game with an eight-yard completion to Thomas, and from there, he continued to facilitate the offense exceptionally. He completed his first seven pass attempts for 82 yards and one score. The Wichita Falls, Texas, native also ran for 16 yards during the 7-of-7 stretch. Overall, Barrett finished the game 19-of-31 for 211 yards and one touchdown through the air, while also picking up 96 yards on the ground. He did have one interception in the third quarter after his pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage, but, for the most part, Barrett’s performance was very efficient. He showed no signs of the big stage making him crumble. After the game, Barrett praised the Notre Dame defense, but he said the key to the offense’s success was just taking whatever was given to them.“They tried to make sure they took away our (deep) shots,” Barrett said. “We was able to try to hit things underneath. (We) did a good job of that.” Finding help up the middleWith two starters on the interior defensive line out for OSU, there was plenty of attention centered on how it would compensate. The solution, it appeared, was to slide junior defensive end Joey Bosa into that position frequently alongside a rotation of other defensive tackles. But then, the solution once again became a problem, as Bosa was ejected after a targeting call with 5:26 left in the first quarter. It was a huge blow for the OSU defense, which, prior to the penalty, had just intercepted Kizer. The interception was negated and from there, OSU was forced to play without three usual starters on the D-line. Even so, the defense was able to limit the damage done up the middle, as it held the Fighting Irish to just 121 rushing yards. Kizer, who OSU was focused on slowing down on the ground, finished with just 21 yards on 15 attempts. “It just speaks of the program,” Holmes said about the defense still being able to be effective despite not having three starters. “It’s just a ‘next man up’ program. I feel like we played great. We did what he had to do to get the win.”
As the dust settles on an off-season to forget, Ohio State players are using the events of this past spring to their advantage. They’re using it as motivation. “We’ve gotten more pissed off,” said senior center Michael Brewster in a press conference Tuesday. “We’ve gotten a lot tighter and we’re working even harder toward our goals.” Brewster believes that it is easy to become content and complacent when you’re used to winning and this “gut-check” might just be exactly what the Buckeyes needed. “(Becoming content and complacent) is definitely not going to happen now I can tell you that, just because of everything that’s gone on,” he said. Brewster and the Buckeyes expressed that they have no intentions of losing hope this upcoming season. “All we think about is winning,” Brewster said. “Getting ready to win, and doing everything to win. We’ve been a part of a winning program since we gotten here and we’re not going to let that stop just because of what’s happened.” Senior defensive back Nate Oliver said although Jim Tressel’s departure on May 30 has been tough on all Buckeye players, they must continue to move forward. “It hurts,” he said. “But it gives you an extra burst, it makes you want to work harder… And we know that he’s always a phone call away.” Oliver expressed that he is confident in Coach Fickell’s ability to lead the team. “You lose knowledge (with Tressel gone), but you also have knowledge from Coach Fickell so it’s really not going to be that big of a drop-off,” Oliver said. “(Fickell) is going to bring that toughness. His toughness, his character, and his passion about what he does—guys are going to be lined up to play just like we always are.” While Oliver is fully confident of coach Fickell’s ability to lead the Buckeyes football team, he said he has continued to maintain a close relationship to Tressel after his departure saying that he talks to coach Tressel “once a week.” Senior lineman John Simon added that the departures have given the Buckeyes something to play for, but it is up to them to turn negatives into a positive. “It’s definitely going to put a chip on our shoulder,” he said. “But we’re going to have to game plan and practice hard all week and execute or it don’t mean nothing.” After the athletic director, Gene Smith, removed the “interim” title from now head coach Luke Fickell’s name this month, Fickell made his first statement as to his starting quarterback for the 2011-12 season. “(The quarterback job) is completely wide open, and (Joe Bauserman) understands that,” Fickell said. After allegations sidelined former quarterback Terrelle Pryor indefinitely, senior quarterback Joe Bauserman expressed that the job opening didn’t change anything. “There’s no change, you prepare for the long haul.” Not known for his leadership off the field, Bauserman says it will be extremely important for him to be an example for his teammates if he wants to be a leader. “I want to show the guys that I can workout with the best of them and I can give the most effort and be one of the tougher guys and stuff so they can do the same thing and believe in me.” Brewster and the Buckeyes fully expect to continue their winning ways this season and set their standards high. “Every season we have a goal to win the Big Ten Championship and the National Championship,” he said. “We’re full steam ahead,” Brewster said. “We’re fully behind coach (Fickell). We’re not going to skip a beat. “
Junior guard Shannon Scott (right) drives to the hoop during a game against Delaware Dec. 18 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 76-64. Credit: Mark Batke / Lantern photographerThe beat rolls on for the No. 3-ranked Ohio State men’s basketball team.OSU (14-0, 1-0) earned its first Big Ten win Tuesday, topping Purdue (10-4, 0-1), 78-69, in West Lafayette, Ind.A back-and-forth affair in the opening 20 minutes, OSU took a 34-33 lead into halftime after senior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. hit a lay up just before the buzzer. Fellow senior guard Aaron Craft fired a pass to Smith Jr. from under the hoop on the play, one of Craft’s six assists in the half.After the break, the Buckeyes turned to junior forward LaQuinton Ross to carry them to victory.The Boilermakers center, sophomore A.J. Hammons, was a force inside, finishing the game with 18 points and 16 rebounds, but couldn’t match Ross, who poured in a career-high 25 points. He also collected 12 rebounds in the game.OSU’s big men, junior centers Amir Williams and Trey McDonald, combined for 21 minutes played and both picked up their third fouls in the first six minutes of the second half. That caused OSU coach Thad Matta to play Ross down low and guard Hammons.Ross played in the post for a majority of the second half, as Matta chose to play with the smaller lineup while OSU added to its lead.Williams and McDonald combined for only six points and four rebounds in the win.A tip-in by Hammons with just 1:38 left cut OSU’s lead to 69-64, but free throws by Craft, Ross, Smith Jr. and junior guard Shannon Scott helped put the game away.Craft finished with seven points, 10 assists, eight rebounds and four steals. Scott and Smith Jr. finished with 18 and 14 points, respectively.Up next, OSU is scheduled to return to the Schottenstein Center to take on Nebraska (8-4, 0-0) Jan. 4, 2014. Tipoff is set for noon.
Sophomore forward Marc Loving (2) passes the ball during a game against Campbell on Nov. 26 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 91-64.Credit: Ed Momot / For The LanternPlaying away from Columbus for just the second time this season, the No. 12 Ohio State men’s basketball team fell on the road again, this time to the No. 24 North Carolina Tar Heels in Chicago, 82-74.OSU is now 0-2 against ranked teams this season, as it fell to then-No. 5 Louisville, 64-55, on Dec. 2.Just like in the loss to the Cardinals, the Buckeyes fell down by a lot, only to make a second half comeback that fell short.Down by as much as 18 with 10:41 left to play in the game, OSU cut the Tar Heel lead to seven with 1:19 left to play, but could not get any closer despite multiple missed free throws by UNC down the stretch.The Buckeyes (9-2), who played in the first of two games of the CBS Sports Classic, fell behind early at halftime, 43-31, to UNC as the Tar Heels (8-3) shot 51.5 percent from the floor in the first half and outrebounded OSU, 23-15.OSU was able to stay in the game early with its outside shooting, as the Buckeyes made six three-point field goals, but they couldn’t seem to get anything going inside as they shot just six of 20 from inside the arc in the first half.The Tar Heels, however, dominated the paint as they scored 34 of their 82 points from inside and outrebounded OSU for the game 53-40.The second half resulted in more of the same, as the Buckeyes shot just 32.5 percent from the field in the half and made just four of 17 from beyond the arc.The Buckeyes were led by sophomore forward Marc Loving, who tallied 19 points in the loss.The Tar Heels were led by junior forward Brice Johnson, who totaled 18 points in the game.The Buckeyes are set to return to the floor Monday to take on the Miami RedHawks at the Schottenstein Center. Tip is scheduled for 6 p.m.